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Graduation season is upon us! Some of you may have already watched your child or grandchild walk across the stage and accept their diploma while others are anxiously awaiting. As exciting a time as this is, it can also offer that nervous anticipation knowing they’re taking their first steps into adulthood.

No matter the feeling, this is a truly momentous time in their life and in yours. And after the graduation ceremony occurs, there is typically a celebration with gifts for the grad. So, here are some great gift ideas!

  1. The King: Cold hard cash is always the number one way to go for a gift to a college grad. They can spend it (or save it), however they please. After college, they’re typically going to need all the necessities in order to live on their own and prosper in a new job – i.e. a car, apartment or new wardrobe – all things that would be more simply gained with a little extra cash in their pocket.

  2. Not the 529: No, that was not a typo. Many are not aware that having a 529 college savings plan can actually be counted against you and your graduate when looking for financial aid. Another option, which may be more suitable, is to open a personal savings account in your name and give it to the graduate afterwards as a gift.

  3. Start ‘Em Off: After graduation, open up a small investment account and help to teach them the basics of investing – or better yet, let me help you teach them! They may not know to appreciate it for what it’s worth now, but they will certainly thank you in the long-run.

  4. Pay It Off: Do they have any credit card debt or student loans? A great option to help them after graduation is to pay some or all of their debt off. Helping them at this stage in their life can really ensure they get a head start in their career and aren’t already in turmoil before they’ve even had a chance to succeed. Even a couple hundred dollars towards their debt can give them the boost they need to make sure they’re paying it off as well.

  5. A Job: What better gift than helping them get a job or internship with a connection of yours? If they’re not aware yet, they will soon realize just how hard it can be in the job market nowadays. Kids are coming out of college with a degree only to end up struggling to find a job. Doing what you can on your part to help them succeed can make all the difference.

Depending on the graduate’s current situation, one of these options will likely make more sense than the others. But remember, it’s not all about what you’re gifting to them. If you can’t afford any big cash commitments, don’t worry – the real value is in the fact that they graduated and are about to embark on an adventure of their own.

P.S. – Have a safe and Happy Memorial Day weekend!

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